Volume 7(1), 2011


Amber M. Simmons

Associate Editor

Dawan Coombs

Book Review Editor

Elizabeth E.G. Friese

Associate Book Review Editor

Jairus-Joaquin Matthews


Courageous Conversations: Inviting Valued Texts Into the Classroom

Clark, S.P., & Marinak, B.A. (2011)

Zhao (2009) notes that when people are intrinsically motivated, they will become courageous. By inviting texts that students value into literature classrooms, educators can reconcile the sometimes seemingly disparate goals of engagement and accountability. Our work with preservice teachers revealed an intersection between motivation and new literacies that, when realized, created a dialogic space for courageous conversations. Such an intersection occurred when text was broadly defined to include young adult literature, film, new media, digital technology, and images, and when the text is invited rather than imposed. This article describes action research conducted with preservice teachers designed to model autonomy with the hope that they will carry the power of motivational reciprocity forward. Read the full article


Same Book, Different Experience: A Comparison of Shared Reading in Preschool Classrooms

Kindle, K.J. (2011)

Shared reading is a common practice in preschool classrooms and is purported to develop oral language, print concepts, and listening comprehension. This study compares the practices of four preschool teachers while reading aloud a common text. Findings suggest that the shared reading experience differs significantly from classroom to classroom in key dimensions. Implications suggest that more effective means of professional development are needed to maximize learning during shared reading events. Read the full article


The Importance of Being Heard: Responses of One First Grade Class to the Representation of AAVE in Picture Books

McCreight, J. (2011)

The following article will address the need for classrooms to promote the use of children’s literature whose characters speak in a dialect other than Standard English (specifically African American Vernacular English, or AAVE). It will begin by drawing attention to the lack of authentic representation of African Americans in picture books throughout history, and the potential harm done to children whose home lives are not validated by the materials chosen to line their classroom’s book shelves. The place of central importance that language holds in the lives of children will also be discussed, and an argument for the benefits of incorporating both home and school languages into academic curriculum (specifically through the use of text) will be made. Finally, the author will share an experience from her own classroom in which she and her students investigated and engaged in stories that revolved around similar plot lines, with one using African American Vernacular English and one Standard English. Suggestions will be made regarding further steps in making meaningful classroom connections to home language and literacy practices. Read the full article


Symmetrical or Asymmetrical Scaffolding: Piagetian vs. Vygotskyan Views to Reading Comprehension

Pishghadam, R., & Ghardiri, S. (2011)

This study seeks to investigate the impact of symmetrical (S) and Asymmetrical (AS) scaffolding, which are two types of scaffolding, on students’ reading comprehension achievement of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). The study was done in two phases: In the first phase after administering a Pre-test, 52 homogeneous intermediate students were selected, and they were divided into two experimental groups. The experimental group (A) received instruction according to S strategy whereas the experimental group (B) was instructed via the AS strategy. A Post-test was administered, and its results were analyzed through t-test. The results indicated that although S scaffolding has significant effect on learners’ performance in reading comprehension, enhancing it but AS scaffolding is a more effective strategy in improving reading comprehension achievement. In the second phase, the qualitative data consisted of a total of 60-minute recording of 28 participants’ interviews. The results have been more consistent with Vygotsky’s theories than with those of Piaget in cognitive development. Read the full article


Nursery Rhyme Knowledge and Phonological Awareness in Preschool Children

Harper, L.J. (2011)

Phonological awareness is an important precursor in learning to read. This awareness of phonemes fosters a child’s ability to hear and blend sounds, encode and decode words, and to spell phonetically. This quantitative study assessed pre-K children’s existing Euro-American nursery rhyme knowledge and phonological awareness literacy, provided phonological awareness training with an experimental group of children and investigated the effects of explicit nursery rhyme instruction on participants’ phonemic skill levels. These data reveal that children exposed to the intervention consisting of explicit Euro-American nursery rhyme instruction significantly outperformed the children in the control group on rhyme awareness and completion statement measures. Results of this research suggest that knowledge of nursery rhymes enhances children’s phonological awareness and sensitivity to individual phonemes and rhyme, and stimulates phonemic skill development. Read the full article


Literacy and second language intervention for adult Hebrew Second Language (HSL) Learners

Fanta-Vagenshtein, Y. (2011)

Language proficiency is a crucial factor for immigrants to integrate successfully in the new society in all aspects of life, especially in the labor market. As a result, there is great importance in acquiring the new language as quickly and effectively as possible. Several factors affect second language acquisition, including motivation, age, cognitive abilities, and cultural differences. Thus, it is important that the curriculum for second language acquisition be adapted according to different backgrounds of the learning groups. Israel, an immigrants’ absorbing country, has instituted the Ulpan, a school for intensive courses in Hebrew as a second language. Yet the program did not adapt itself to people with different backgrounds, such as those of immigrants from Ethiopia, most of who are non-literate. Although Ethiopian immigrants went through this program, they are still dealing with the difficulties of the Hebrew language. This article suggests an alternative model which adjusts the curriculum, based on the target group’s needs. Read the full article


Voices From the Field

Myths About Critical Literacy: What Teachers Need to Unlearn.

Lee, C. J. (2011)

By discussing commonly held myths, this paper attempts to clarify a number of important issues in the area of critical literacy education. These include the distinction between critical thinking and critical literacy, the audience critical literacy is meant for, the philosophical underpinnings of critical literacy, and the relationship between critical literacy on the one hand and reading and writing on the other hand. This paper urges literacy educators to examine their beliefs critically and unlearn ungrounded misconceptions about critical literacy. It is imperative that literacy educators have a better understanding of critical literacy before it can take root in the classrooms. Read the full article

Book Review

Technology in Use

Review of the book Rethinking education in the age of technology: The digital revolution and schooling in America, by A. Collins & R. Halverson (2009) Vokatis, B. (2011)




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